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Gymnastics Facilities

New Study Released on How to Protect Gymnasts from Flame Retardants

A TURI-funded study that tested exposure to flame retardants among gymnasts was published in the March 26th issue of Environment International. Silent Spring Institute researchers collected hand samples of gymnasts before and after a gym switched the foam pit cubes with ones that didn't contain flame retardants. Read more.

Walker's Gymnastics and Dance in Lowell Switches to Non-Flame Retardant Foam Pit Cubes

Flame Retardants and Health Issues

If you own a gymnastic facility, you may not be aware that the foam pit cubes used to cushion gymnasts contain flame retardants. Unfortunately, studies have shown that gymnasts, especially children, can have high levels of these toxins in their bodies.

Over a decade of research indicates that some flame retardants can harm the developing brain, have been linked to cancer as well as reproductive health issues, and several are considered endocrine disruptors (mimic hormones and disrupt the thyroid hormone system). Read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

Are flame retardants needed in your facility to reduce ignition of fires?

TURI awarded a grant to Silent Spring Institute to investigate fire standards and flame retardant alternatives for the polyurethane foam cubes used in gymnastics facilities. Silent Spring worked with Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) to test the flammability of the cubes with and without flame retardants.

The WPI research results determined that there was not enough of a benefit for fire protection to make the potential health risks from flame retardants worth it. Read the TURI Guidance Letter to make sure that your facility has measures in place to ensure safety should a fire break out.